Saturday, July 14, 2007
Only in Miami: the Miami Bird
Recently the National Audubon Society announced that Florida birds like the eastern meadowlark, the loggerhead shrike and the greater scaup are disappearing from our region due to urban sprawl. Birds like the American kestrel and American bittern, black skimmer, clapper rail, the northern bobwhite, rusty blackbird, the redwing blackbird and the little blue heron are also on our hit list. The names and numbers of the dwindling bird population were nothing more than statistics rolling past my eyes and numbing brain until the Miami Herald article mentioned that the Greynolds Park rookery has been "devastated." Then it became personal.
I grew up here and some of my fondest memories are at Greynolds Park as a kid and as an adult. As a kid I used the park to run and play in its woods and amazing coral rock outcrops which can tower over your head. To this day, I can remember as a cub scout lying low above a trail with fellow scouts planning an ambush of another troop. When the time came we whooped and yelled and jumped down through the underbrush on top of our quarry. Unfortunately, my shoe got caught in an exposed root and I found myself flying through the air with a head first trajectory for the sandy path and, I swear, it was all in slow motion and to this day, really cool. At the least, I should have broken something. But I didn't. Because this kind of stuff happened on a regular basis to me as a kid growing up wild and free in a far from politically correct world where playing with toy guns was okay, it helped grow in me the sense that God exists and for some reason he's sparing my sorry ass. So far.
As an adult, I got married and raised a family on the Oleeta River which leads into the park. We had a home on a canal that led to the river where we could take a small boat from our backyard and motor down through Enchanted Lake and dock at Greynolds. The rookery was amazing then, less than 10-years-ago. Literally the tree branches were weighed down by thousands of birds of nearly every shape and color. What was cool about the whole thing is that it was smack dab in the middle of North Miami Beach and just west of Aventura which meant you didn't have to travel way out to the Everglades to see this grand spectacular.
Now we're told the "robust rookery" has been "virtually eliminated." Blame is being put on development, man messin' with the natural ecosystem in the park (an alligator was removed from the lagoon which ate raccoons which ate birds' eggs) and the loss of mangroves from hurricanes. I personally believe hurricane Andrew and the hurricanes that followed had a lot to do with it. Many huge trees in the park were felled by Andrew and it took years for it to come back. I'm sure birds found other places to raise their young in the interim.
Just like us. Our resident archaeologist Bobby Bermudez and Church of the Groovey Dude follower is also an amateur ornithologist. He reassures us that it isn't as bad as it looks. Although some birds may be disappearing from our community, a new species has moved in and appears to be adapting quite well. Naming it after himself, Inyourface vulgaris bermudez is commonly known as the "Miami Bird." According to Bobby, unlike most wild things, it thrives in an urban environment and shows an uncanny ability to adapt to its surroundings.
"Unlike most birds, Inyourface vulgaris bermudez is a master at the art of camouflage meaning that it can appear as just about anything. The only common characteristic of the species is its single raised appendage.
"As for its bird call, it resembles the coo-cooing of the morning dove, but it's much shriller. And louder. Its distinct call can be heard over the noise of city life including the traditional highest decibel parts of town found on our expressways. It has two parts. The first is a repeated trilling that sounds like this: 'Fuckyou....Fuckyou....' The second part truncates the trilling with two rapid 'Motherfucker-Motherfucker' blasts. So, the call of the Miami Bird is 'Fuckyou...Fuckyou...Motherfucker- Motherfucker. Fuckyou...Fuckyou...Motherfucker-Motherfucker'."
If what scientists are reporting is true about the disappearing birds, then Bobby's new replacement bird with its accusatory cry seems all the more appropriate for us.
For those who would like to contribute to the conservation of what may be the only bird left in Miami, Bobby has set up a "non-profit" that sells cute little Miami Bird replicas that can be mounted in your car. Now, with the simple push of a button, you too can remind others about our disappearing bird population.